Catalog Channel Adds DRTV to Media Mix

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CHICAGO -- The simultaneous proliferation of specialty catalogs and cable


channels has begat the Catalog Channel, a satellite broadcast network set to


launch July 1 with 30-minute infomercials that convey a catalog's image and


pitch its products.


The Catalog Channel, Fort Lauderdale, FL, is being introduced at the Catalog Conference & Exhibition here. It will be available to five million households initially with a projected reach of 15 to 20 million homes by year end, said


founder/chairman Richard Bell. Ambitious plans call for the formation of a


second, Spanish language channel to serve the U.S. and Latin America and


eventually Western Europe, in 2000.


A cataloger's own toll-free number and the Web address of the Catalog


Channel, www.tcctv.com, will be featured prominently throughout each spot.


Users will find featured products and other specials from the cataloger at the


Catalog Channel site as well as a link to the client's full online catalog.


The Catalog Channel is not another QVC or the Home Shopping Network, Bell


said, because the spots are longer and focus on a catalog's capabilities as


much as its products. Infomercials will run 24 hours a day with three


minutes of advertising available per hour. Much of the early air time will be


filled by three 30-minute promotional spots - It's A Guy Thing that focuses on


male product categories, The New Products


Show, and a public service program meant to educate consumers about online and


catalog shopping.


The Catalog Channel will handle all production for clients and offer catalog


shows in 15 product categories. Startup clients will receive the first three


months free and then pay a fee of $500 per 30-minute show with a minimum of


two broadcasts per week. The Catalog Channel will also host an online mall of


five to six catalogs at its site and earn a commission on those sales.


To convince cable companies to carrry the network, the Catalog Channel will


share revenue based on the number of households reached. To recruit


catalogers, it is working with list firms and other existing direct marketing


relationships. Participant and cable announcments will be made next month.
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